Find out who this ‘Carolina Boy’ is who’s making all of this noise …
SCM Awards Best Young Artist nominee, 2AM Ricky is rising out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and has shown and proved as to why he’s here to stay for the long run! Multi-talented recording artist and actor 2AM Model Ricky continues to smash barriers within the industry and make huge strides.
As well as being an impressive creative, Ricky is an advocate for the LGBT community. He’s an openly transgender rapper demolishing the stereotypes and stigmas for artists in mainstream music.
When it comes to Ricky’s acting career, he’s played roles in “Blackville” by HereTV and featured in the film “Young and Reckless” by Roll the Dice. In addition to playing a role in the 2019 film, Ricky’s single “Waves” is also featured on the “Young and Reckless” music soundtrack.
The triple threat artist is filled with talent and memorizing artistry. Furthermore, published model, 2AM Ricky has been seen in a number of publications such as: Fly Boy Magazine, A Million Magazine, TomboyX, and Linbergh’s 2018 Fall campaign.
Who Is The ‘Carolina Boy’?
Aside from Ricky’s side talents, his passion for music is undeniable. 2AMRicky’s latest compilation, Carolina Boy, is made up of over 20 minutes of ghetto gospel vibes compiled into 6 tracks.
In 2019, Ricky was acknowledged in the Top 100 Indie Hip-Hop & R&B songwriters by the ISC. From there, that’s when Ricky released his industry debut EP, Carolina Boy, under the guidance of Grammy-nominated producer Vic “Billboard Killer” Martin.The EP is a well put together masterpiece, don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself! Stream Carolina Boy! Now available across all major streaming platforms.
Best Young Artist Nominee & Grammy-nominated Producer Vic “Billboard Killer” Martin Team Up!
Myself, Minnee of Hip Hop Dose had the pleasure of interviewing 2AM Ricky while he was doing the press run of his latest release Carolina Boy. Find out why 2AM Ricky is making huge strides in the industry and is the epitome of a game changer in Hip-Hop. Read the interview below!
- Before we jump into specific questions about your project and the business, why don’t you give fans some details about you and your story.
- “I’m from Winston-Salem, NC. I’ve been a creative since I was a kid. From rapping, dancing, acting, modeling, songwriting, poetry; art has always been a part of who I am. I originally got into music when I was a kid as a form of therapy. In 2015, I began to professionally create music after the murder of my best friend, Hesakahi McCoy. My first album, “Hiatus” was actually a tell-all of his murder. In the album are real recordings of the suspects and witnesses telling the story of his death. From that project, I was able to help save his case.”
- How would you describe your musical style?
- “I would describe it as ghetto gospel. It’s spiritual, but with relatable worldly content. It’s honest. When I create, my goal is to create a vibe. I don’t want people to listen to my music and just love it, I want my music to force people to feel again. Not just bounce to the beat or love the hook, but really feel, like back in the day when soul was really alive.”
- Who or what influenced you to get in music both personal and musical inspirations.
- “Musically, my biggest inspirations are Andre 3000, Lauryn Hill, Pharrell, and Kanye West. Personally, my biggest influence was Hesakahi. He was the first person to ever believe in me to the point that I knew my talent could change my life.”
- At what age did you begin creating, and in which mediums?
- “I’ve created as long as I can remember. From school talent shows, singing and rapping in show and tell, to even writing lyrics in class and hustling them off to older rappers I would come across.”
- In this cut throat industry, what drives you to keep thriving as a rising transgender artist?
- “I don’t really view myself as a “transgender artist”. I’m an artist, that happens to be transgender. Some artists happen to be black, some happen to be gay, I happen to be trans.What drives me to succeed is knowing the many lives and stories that relate to mine, but have never had the opportunity to see someone like me. To me, it’s not about me. It’s about kicking down the doors for the thousands of LGBT youth, transgender individuals, abused Black children in general. The label of “what” I am isn’t what matters. It’s about the impact of the music to me.”
- What kind of musical impact do you want to provide fans?
- “I want to spark conversations. I want people to understand that it’s ok to be different, to come from humble beginnings, to have been given the short end of the stick as a child. It’s ok. You can still make it. And you will. I just want to be a living testimony of that.”
- Would you say music was the gateway into modeling/acting or vice versa?
- “Acting and modeling was something I’ve always been passionate about as well. I did theatre when I was younger along with being a music and theatre teacher’s assistant. Professionally, I would say music became a gateway, because it allowed me to receive opportunities based on my introduction as an artist and interest in my music.”
- Being a triple threat and all around entertainer, have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
- “All of the time! Every time I touch a stage, I still get butterflies like it’s my first time.”
- What was your first song like that you ever made? Tell me about it.
- “The first song I ever did was horrible. Lyrically, it was really good. But I had no idea what I was doing. My voice was really low recording, I was on the mic at an awkward position. It was really bad. I recorded it in Chidley Hall, in my friend and fellow NC artists Bars dorm room.”
- Which record do you feel is the best song you’ve released to date and why?
- “I think my best song to date would be “The Well”, because it fully translates who I am as a person and artist. The lyrics are very raw and honest. I don’t there’s a better way to understand who I am as an artist and my style than that track.”
The Project: Carolina Boy —
- Where did you find your artistic inspiration for your project, Carolina Boy?
- “For me, Carolina Boy was an artistic rebirth. I created based on life experiences, so this EP represented the personal and spiritual growth that I’ve had over the past year of life. It discusses me building a relationship with God and balancing religion with the realities of life. I discuss growth in my career, fully finding myself as a person.”
- How long did it take to curate the EP?
- “We had 2 weeks to complete the entire EP.”
- How will your next project differ from the last?
- “There are layers to a person and creativity. I feel Carolina Boy allowed listeners to gain an understanding of who I am. In this next project, I want to dive more into why I am. Lyrically, I’m digging deeper in this next project. The next project will be an album. I want to provide listeners with an experience, and allow the story to tell itself from beginning to end.”
Additional Questions —
- In what ways have your surroundings shaped your creativity?
- “They’ve definitely influenced my delivery. I grew up in a Christian environment, so you hear gospel, you hear soul, you hear lines that make you stop, rewind, re-listen, and ponder on what I just said. My surroundings helped me to understand why my creativity is necessary.”
- How often do you go & what do you do to prepare for the studio?
- “If not every day, I go to the studio several times a week. I’m very particular about what beats I use, so that’s the most time consuming part. I treat studio sessions like therapy. Before I begin writing a song, I’ll write what I think or feel. I clear my mind. Oddly enough, those same thoughts become a lot of my lyrics.”
- What is one experience in life that, without it, you wouldn’t be the artist you are today?
- “I wouldn’t be the artist that I am today without the murder of Hesakahi. As traumatic as it was, it helped me to see that God really does everything for a reason. It gave me a new drive, I no longer work to accomplish my own goals, I work to fulfill promises. His death taught me that I have to use my gifts. I can’t suffer in silence.”
- Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success in entertainment?
- “Faith. In order to succeed in entertainment, you have to have crazy faith. By crazy faith, I mean, you have to see the impossible and not only believe that it’s possible, but work as if it’s already yours. This industry is full of obstacles and “nos”. You have to fight for your “yes” and the dream that you want.”
- What do you hope to accomplish this year with your music?
- “I want to expand internationally. A lot of people have goals like, “Oh, I want a Grammy this year.” “I want a #1 record this year.” I want all of those things. But I measure my success by impact. I hope that my music influence grows to the point that I’m able to expand outside of music. Speaking engagements, working with youth and LGBTQIA targeted organizations, etc. This year, I want people to understand through my music that I’m more than just a transgender male or just another rapper.”
- If your fans could remember one thing about you, what would it be ?
- “I want my fans to remember the feeling that my art gives them. I’ve heard stories of people being moved by my music, of people relating, and people just being die hard fans. Whatever it is that you feel that makes you happy or makes you reflect on yourself and life, that’s what I want them to remember. Don’t remember me because I’m trans, remember me because of the impact I made.”
- If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
- “The industry praises toxic masculinity. We have to change this standard, especially with hip-hop being the leading genre that it is. We have enough battles being African-American, whether you’re a man or woman. When you add in this toxicity, it affects business, it affects mindsets, it affects the entire structure of this industry. We have to change that.”
- As an activist for the LGBTQIA Community, how will you continue to use your platform to push the culture forward ?
- “I want to continue to use my platform to raise awareness of the community and issues that we face. There is no “gay agenda”. We’re normal people, who can’t be erased by opinions or policies. I also want to bridge the gap between the LGBTQIA Community and the industry as a whole. There’s a way for everyone to be different and there still be unity and balance. I’m fighting for that balance.”
- If you had one message to give to your fans, what would that message be?
- “Your greatest weapon is believing in the power of you. I have a million reasons to feel the odds are against me. Knowing who I am and what I am capable of is a strength that no one can take away. And pray. Prayer should be your best friend.”
- With everything going on in the world & hip hop, what kind of difference or imprint would you like to make?
- “I want to spark the conversations that have commonly been ignored. I want to be a voice for those who were forced silent. Hip hop has the ability to change the world. We are the culture. In order to change the world, we have to start with ourselves. Change starts with discussion. If we never discuss what’s wrong, we can never make it right. I want to bring back the knowledge that God is real, and He loves the broken and the outcasts. That one realization shifts everything.”
- To close out our interview, what’s next for 2AM Ricky?
- “I have another music project that will be released later this year. My first feature film, “Young and Reckless” premieres this year, as well as the soundtrack which I am included on. Ultimately, what’s next is just growth. This year is my real introduction to the industry on a mainstream scale, and to the world. The first transgender artist. What’s next… is history.”
And just like that, 2AM Ricky is doing just that! Making history and breaking barriers all #202WON!